What Are We Sacrificing?

Innocent Sacrifice

When I met him, Sidney was an elderly man who had served with the British army in the Far East during World War II.  Shortly after his arrival in Singapore, his battalion was defeated by the Japanese, and the survivors were assigned to various prisoner-of-war camps.  Sidney—and most of the others in his unit—were put to work building the Burma Railway.

A history of the railway tells of a work group that turned in its equipment at the end of the day, and the prisoners’ guard became irate when a shovel was missing.  He demanded the thief identify himself, but nobody responded.  When the guard shouted he’d kill all the prisoners, one British soldier stepped forward, and the guard beat him to death with his rifle butt.  Back at the camp, the shovels were counted again, and they were all there.  The innocent prisoner had sacrificed his life so the others could live.

Military service today, by its very nature, requires sacrifice.

At home station, there’s no such thing as a “normal” duty day.  Men and women put in long hours—often at the expense of family time—to complete the mission.  Deployments take soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines to combat zones around the globe for months at a time.  Members of the armed forces understand they may be called upon to make the supreme sacrifice—to give up their lives in the defense of their country and the values it holds dear.

People in all professions are called upon to exhibit a high degree of responsibility.  This means we must accomplish what we’re expected to do.  Sacrifice takes this concept one step further.  It involves giving up something we value for the sake of something that has a more pressing claim on our time or attention.

The story of Ruth provides an example of a young woman willing to sacrifice her independence to care for her mother-in-law.  Ten of Jesus’ disciples died as martyrs in excruciating pain because they chose to follow Christ’s instruction to take the gospel to people across the region.  The writer to the Hebrews adds a summary of heroes of the faith who gave their all—and in some cases their lives—for the Lord.

Best Model is Jesus

Of course, the best model of sacrifice is Jesus.  The Apostle Matthew writes that Christ came not to be served but to serve.  He gave up His life as a ransom for all those through the centuries who would receive Him as Savior.

The Bible tells us we’re to seek first God’s kingdom and His righteousness, to deny ourselves and follow Christ.  We also have a responsibility to our families.  Additionally, we’ve chosen a profession that requires us to place a high priority on accomplishing our duties with excellence.

Sometimes we’ll have to lay aside time we’d like to devote to our relationships with God and our families for the sake of the more pressing claims of military service.  If we’re honest, we may discover a self-imposed pressure to make “sacrifices” to spend an inordinate amount of time on the job when we’re not deployed.  Our responsibility to the Lord and our families is to prayerfully discern when He’s calling us to lay aside time at work for the sake of the more pressing claims of God and our loved ones.

Reflection:  Have you established a priority scheme for the different dimensions of your life?  Are any of these priorities inviolate?  What sacrifices does your work require of you?   
Post a Comment: How are you able to cope with the conflicting demands of your various “masters”?


Series:  A Christian’s View of Work in the Military:

6. What Are We Sacrificing?

7. Glorifying Me?

8. The Safe Zone

9. Success or Significance